Two Chevys in top five in Pocono 500: Johnson third, Jeff Gordon fifth JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO, had another stellar performance in the Winston Cup Series, placing third in today's Pocono 500 as first rookie and first...
Two Chevys in top five in Pocono 500: Johnson third, Jeff Gordon fifth
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO, had another stellar performance in the Winston Cup Series, placing third in today's Pocono 500 as first rookie and first Chevrolet Monte Carlo driver. With Sterling Marlin's fourth-place finish, the points margin between leader Marlin and second-place Johnson remains the same, as both earned 165 points today. (Marlin earned five points for leading the first two laps; Johnson led none).
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO, led laps 3 through 32, but placed a strong fifth, despite a loose car and spinning in the pits. Dale Jarrett, in a Ford, won the race. Mark Martin made it one-two for Ford.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"It's a long day here. This is a very intense track where you can easily lose a couple of tenths and you have to stay up on the wheel all day long with your upshifting and downshifting. The guys did an awesome job in the pits today and us top four-five cars wear dead even and it was just how we got through traffic. I hate to see Ricky Rudd have the luck he's having. The poor guy, he can't get a break anywhere. This Lowe's Monte Carlo was awesome, and third, that's good deal."
FIRST RACE HERE FOR YOU, BUT YOU PRACTICED HERE: "We came up here before when we went to Dover and had a real good test and real good to come back."
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"We had a good car in the beginning and then it got real loose. We were getting it back, got it tightened up and (when) I came on to pit road the brake pedal went to the floor and I couldn't get it slowed down. I tried to downshift, wheel hopped it and spun out. I couldn't get it back started; it was a mess. I don't know how in the world we stayed on the lead lap, but the car was good enough to be able to drive back up through there; I was having a lot of fun with that."
HAPPY WITH THE FINISH? "We've got to be happy with fifth, the way our day went. We started out great, the car was awesome and, man, we got real, real loose. We were trying to get the thing tightened back up and get back up there and just as we did I came on to pit road and couldn't get the thing slowed down. Downshifted and wheel-hopped it and spun out. Nobody's fault but my own and this team never gave up. I don't know how we stayed on the lead lap, but we did. To come back and have that good a car to drive back up through there all the way to fifth (I'm) real, real happy with that."
ON TAKING FOUR INSTEAD OF TWO TIRES AT THE END: "We thought about it, Robbie (Loomis, crew chief) thought about it. I think originally we were going to take two and the more they thought about it the more they thought it would be a better idea to take four, which was definitely the right call."
GORDON RELATING HIS PIT SPIN EXPERIENCE TO JOHNSON: "I spun out on pit road. I was sitting there for a long time. I came in there and the brake pedal just went way down and I couldn't get it whoa'd down and I went ahead and tried to downshift, (and it went) puh, puh, puh, puh. I was like sliding that way, sliding that way, and finally it came all the way around. And then I couldn't get it started. I mean I sat there for it felt like a minute. I don't know how I didn't lose a lap. We had a good car at the end. Good job, man."
CHAD KNAUS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48:
ANOTHER GOOD DAY: "Wonderful. To come here and not get to qualify and to get qualifying practice and go out there and kind of start cold turkey we were real happy with the way the day ended. To come out here finishing third his first time here I think it's pretty good. We didn't get out of the pits like we needed to and that hurt us a little bit there at the end. Our car was fast. We didn't have anything for the 28, I don't think. Next time we come back we will be a little bit better. We had a good car, we really did have a good car and we came in and a lot of people took two tires, we decided to take four and fuel, and that put us back to about 10th; we just drove our way up."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 8 BUDWEISER CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO:
"The day was tough. Tony (Eury) Jr. (car chief) and the guys really had some gas mileage figured out and had an idea for us to try to win the race, but things changed. I was there with him, I was behind him 100 percent. I was a little disappointed and upset; (I'd) rather take the chance than not. It's a tough deal. Ran out of gas coming down the back straightaway, got in the pits, made our lap back; that was a good thing. A good highlight to the day."
TERRY LABONTE, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (38th), went out after 102 laps with an engine problem:
"It dropped a valve. It suddenly lost a cylinder, and then it lost all of them."
JOE NEMECHEK, NO. 25 UAW-DELPHI CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (41st), crashed on lap 30 at the exit of turn 3:
"I got to apologize to Rick Hendrick, all these Hendrick guys, UAW, Delphi. The car was good, we were fast, we were going up through there. Been having a little trouble with the transmission and they were trying to tell me to pit, and by the time I keyed the radio I think it popped out of gear, because just all of a sudden it turned sideways and I couldn't keep up with it. It's my fault. I just can't believe our luck right now. I'm not doing my job, I'm not finishing these races. I had an awesome car, it was really fast; we passed anybody we'd come to. We just got to start finishing races."
CAN YOU GET BACK OUT? "I think we're pretty much done. It basically knocked the rear end out from underneath. I'm fine."
"We were going to the front, we weren't as good as the top five, but we could pass anybody we were coming to^Ê I had the transmission pop out a few times before that^Ê"
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 GM GOODWRENCH CHEVROLET MONTE CARLO (39th), pulled into the garage on lap 81 with a clutch problem. The crew was unable to make repairs to the transmission and retired the car:
HARVICK ON ARRIVAL IN GARAGE: "It's either the transmission, or a steering gear or something; we don't really know at this point. Going down the back straightaway it just went into neutral, spun the motor about as high as it can go. The GM Goodwrench car at least was running good."